Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ok, Cupid, Let's See What You've Got

I kind of accidentally joined another online dating site.

I can see you, sitting there right now, raising an eyebrow at me, skeptical of this claim. How do you “accidentally” join a dating site?

Here's how: you register for a different site that is apparently owned by or an affiliate of a dating site, and poof! They give you an account on the dating site too. Then you start to get emails from said site, announcing that they have new matches for you. And you're like, “what the fuck - ?” and eventually you put two and two together and realize what happened.

Then you get bored one Friday night and think to yourself, WHAT THE HELL, because the whole meeting-people-the-old-fashioned-way isn't working terribly well for you, and you fill out your profile in a half-awake state, making sure to pull your bio information from your previous online-dating endeavor because, hey, you've already got the work half done.

I don't really know what I'm expecting from this. The last time I tried online dating (which, now that I think about it, was exactly this same time last year) I wasn't terribly thrilled with it. To quote myself (because that's not lame or narcisstic at all), online dating = a bunch of blind dates that you inflict upon yourself. It was more awkward than fun. I had been tossing around the idea of giving it another shot because, well, maybe this is a lame reason: but now that I've lost some weight, I feel a lot better about myself, AND I can now fit into some of my cuter clothes and they're totally going wasted by my lack of dating. And because boys are equally as shallow, on some level, maybe I'll have better luck now that I'm thinner and thus more ideal. Something.

I'd avoided OkCupid for two reasons: from what I had been hearing, it hadn't really caught on around here quite yet, and because something about a free site made me question it. The whole “you get what you pay for” mentality and all that.

However. A free site is the only type of site that I could even do right now, and that actually removes a lot of pressure. Before, I was convinced I had to get my money's worth, and I was only going to do it for a couple months because that was all I was willing to shell out the cash for. Now, though, if it's free, I can take my sweet time and browse around at my leisure.

Also, the first few profiles I clicked on were actually, like, solid leads: well-written and articulate and not all that bad-looking, either. Which proves that my other holdup was completely unjustified.

My phone was blowing up with email notifications today, though I suppose that could be because I was “fresh meat” - a new profile. Or maybe because I'm super fucking adorable and witty and awesome. Or some combination of the two. I'm not sure.

At any rate, I'm going to go poke around a little and see what's out there. Y'all seemed to enjoy my posts from the last attempt, and in some respect, it feels like it is my responsibility as a single blogger to occasionally regale you with stories of the dating world. THIS IS FOR YOU. I'm so selfless.

So, um, here we go, I guess. Again.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Six Minutes.

This is how long I can run before I start praying for the sweet release of death. Or until I feel like said sweet release of death is actually descending upon me.

I'm aware that that really isn't very long. However, it's much longer than I thought I could go, so there's that. At some point in my life, I'm sure I could run up to at least double that, because they made us run the mile for the stupid Presidential Fitness Test in gym class. (I was an embarrassing failure at pull-ups, I have yet in my entire twenty-six years of life to be able to do even one, but I was a rockstar at the sit-and-reach. So there.)

I hate running. Not to offend any of you runners out there, but I've just never been fond of it. So naturally, I participated in track for much of my formative years. All the way up through my senior year of high school. Graduation meant, among many many other things, that I was free of track & field forever. I really only did it because it was something to do in the spring, and it kept me in shape between volleyball and softball. (And because it was a small school and I was involved in absolutely EVERYTHING because I was your textbook overachiever. I know, this surprises you a lot.) And, okay, maybe on some level to make my dad happy. That's why I started softball. Until one time, when I was probably about ten, I wanted to quit... and he told me I could if that's what I wanted. So I thought about it long and hard, and then decided that I loved it. I threw myself into that damn sport ever since, as evidenced by the fact that I am still heavily involved with it. I still play, and now I coach. Honestly, though, if it weren't for my dad, I probably never would have gotten into athletics, at all. I'm glad I did, though. They were fun and you learn a lot of life lessons without realizing it. My parents, as a general rule, were not the kind to push: I was very free to take my own path and make my own choices (which, lucky for them, were very boring choices because I was such a good kid). Yet obviously I wanted them to be proud of me, and, I don't know, insert some juvenile daddy issues about him probably wanting a boy that he never got and instead got two very girly-girl daughters, blah blah. If me being in track made him happy, fine. I was indifferent. I mean, I bitched my way through the season every year, but I didn't hate it. If I did, I would have quit. Like basketball. Basketball was the first thing I've ever quit in y life. I was terrible, I was short, and I was miserable. I made it all the way through my sophomore year before deciding this. I actually once upon a time made it through this whole post without it being very long but somewhere along the way I decided to re-read it instead of just clicking post and now I've added all sorts of irrelevant insights. WOO.

Anyway, so. I hated running in my youth. The only running I did in college is when I had overslept my nap and was going to be late for my afternoon class. Actually the only time I remember Actually Running and not just Walking Very Very Fast is when I thought I was going to miss an exam. (I totally made it just in time, in case you were wondering.)

I hated running even more once I packed on about, hmm, a lot of weight. (I started to do the math from how much I weighed in high school to how much I weighed at my peak and it is NOT A PRETTY NUMBER, guys. I don't intend to return all the way down to my high school weight, because that would be probably impossible, and I've reached the point that no matter where I end up, I already look a hell of a lot better than I did six months ago, so everything from this point onward is gravy. But we don't need to know the total damages. I will tell you everything else you want to know, but I will not tell you how much I have weighed.) It was miserable and, well, difficult. As hard as running was when I was in shape... it was infinitely harder when I was had all that extra padding to carry around. My hatred for running grew significantly.

Yet, it's such an easy workout, and by "easy" I mean: it requires very little equipment, and you can do it just about anywhere. All you need is yourself. Maybe a good pair of shoes. Maybe an iPod. I require these things, anyway. But you don't have to spend a fortune to be equipped to do it. I've lost a lot of weight so far merely by adjusting my eating habits, and I'm always active in the summer because of softball, but now that softball is over, I need to get serious about finding something to keep my momentum going. And while it's ridiculously hot and humid outside right now... I'm still going to take advantage of being able to BE outside. I will enjoy it more when it is fall, because that is my absolute favorite time of year, but once winter sneaks up... it's a solid stretch of gloomy days, stuck indoors.

I've added "Run a 5K" to my 30 Things list. (Or at least I did mentally. I don't know if I've updated the site yet. That poor blog. It's so neglected. Maybe if I would DO some of the stuff on it, then that wouldn't be the case.) Because it seems reasonable, and people seem to enjoy their 5Ks, and I figure: I can do it. Not right now, of course, but eventually. So, I'm starting here. Two weeks ago, my baseline was four minutes. Now it is six. Next week I hope it is seven. Then eight. And so on. I'll worry about measuring distance later, I just need to build up my endurance.

Blah, blah, blah. You know what would make this post more interesting? Let's revisit the whole "I was in track in high school" part. OMG, you guys, I was so terrible. I ran middle distances, mostly. Our 4x800m relay team was where they stuck all the people who sucked. Sometimes, if we were lucky, not all the schools would field a team, and so we'd get 5th or 6th place by default. Usually, we got lapped. The first meet of my senior year, and I will always remember this, we got lapped TWICE. In the same race. Do you know how absolutely awful that is? Yet we knew we were bad, so we just laughed it off and made it our goal to only get lapped once the rest of the season. (Success!). Ironically enough, in that same meet, it was the same four of us who were running the 4x400m, which is, technically, a sprint, but it's a longer sprint. We weren't any better than that. We actually GOT LAPPED. I don't think that's probably ever happened anywhere before or since. It's not SUPPOSED to happen, even if you are terrible. Fortunately that was the only time that happened, but... seriously. If you're not familiar with track meets, you'll have to take my word for it. If you are... well, you know how bad it is. Awkward.

We knew how atrocious we were, but it was something we could at least joke about. We were really only there to pick up the participation points for the team's overall score. We didn't take ourselves seriously, because, how could we? We were a disgrace to all relay teams everywhere.

Generally speaking, for most relay teams, you will put your best runner last. They are the anchor spot, their job is to either keep the lead or catch up and take the lead. In our relay team, my friend and I, being the two seniors, bestowed upon ourselves the #1 and #2 spot. Because we were seniors, we could do that. (Our coach really didn't give a damn, either, because: we were awful. As I can't stress enough. So he never said anything or probably even noticed when we switched the lineup around a bit. He only ran us because somebody had to run the damn thing and nobody really liked either of those races. Besides, he had to put us somewhere.) Because we'd been running this damn race for so long, we also knew that when you get to runner #3, that's when we usually started to get lapped. Runner #4 always had a solo lap because they were finishing the race and everyone else had already done so.  (Bonus points if it was a co-ed meet, because the race immediately following was a boys' hurdle event, so they always started setting them up and had to make sure to keep one lane open for us. Awkward.) Needless to say, nobody wanted that spot. So we gave it to whoever the youngest relay member was or whoever was the most indifferent.

Side note, the more I look back on it, I'm kind of glad that I went to a really small high school. It had its negatives, to be sure, but I don't think I realize how many things that I took for granted that I got to do and be, that probably wouldn't have been the case in a larger school. I didn't have to pick which activity I wanted: I did them all. I was such a big fish in that tiny pond that I was actually looking forward to being an anonymous nobody at college. That didn't last very long either because my need to Be Involved took over, but, it was a refreshing thought, anyway. I could be whoever I wanted! These people didn't know me since I was five! They won't know how awkward and shy I was for so long! Freedom!

I'm digressing!

Oh, track. I actually do have some fond memories of it. Absolutely none of them involve the actual running part.

Some days, in early spring, when the weather is just right where it's chilly but sunny, and the air is crisp and things are just starting to be green again... I'm transported back to the early weeks of track practice, when we would run around town or around the school grounds in our super sexy hand-me-down windsuits from the '80s, choking on the brisk air, being simultaneously hot and sweaty and cold at the same time, our poor noses and fingers taking the brunt of it. Sometimes we'd cinch up the hoods on our jackets so that only as much of our face was necessary was showing. And we'd run around like that. I'm sure it was adorable. Sometimes I'll go outside and it just smells like track season. I mentioned it to my dad once; he has the same type of sensory memory. He loves it though. He liked track. And running. Still does. I swear, he's in better shape than I am.

It's starting to fade, though. It doesn't catch me as often as it used to. Sometimes, though.

I wish I would have appreciated the fact that I was in great shape, when I WAS in great shape. Ten years later and I'm struggling to get back there, and I'm voluntarily doing the things I hated doing when it was easy. Now it's hard, and I find I'm hating it less. Figure THAT one out.

And, for funsies, just so you know I'm telling the truth, here is me from my senior year team track photo.




I think no further words are necessary at this point. Thank you, and goodnight.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Life is a Highway

I've started to develop a love-hate relationship with all of this time I've been spending on the road lately. Because when you're driving a hundred miles with not much by way of changing scenery, your mind wanders.

Usually it's merely just frustrating, because the most inopportune times for great ideas are always when you are unable to write them down. In the shower, on Highway 20. Etc.

I was driving home tonight (last night? I guess it's technically Monday now) and my mind was running in a million places, so fast and so spastic that I couldn't keep up, and whenever I'd latch onto a thought, it was fleeting, but it kicked my ass.

I don't know how to find a new way to say what I've said a million times before - I feel angsty, I feel restless, I'm having a quarterlife crisis, I don't know what to do with myself. I can repeat all of these things until I'm blue in the face, but when given an hour and a half of solid quality alone time with myself, it's too much - I want to crawl out of my skin, I want to cry, I want to scream.

I have my craziest hypothetical ideas in the car, too. Things I'd never do. What if I threw all my shit into storage and moved myself across the country? What if I quit my job and attempted to do freelance? What if I found someone I was interested in and marched up and told him so? What if I did this, what if I said that? What if, what if, what if.

Not all my ideas are outlandish and crazy. Sometimes they're quite good, and I am desperate to hold onto it until I get home. Sometimes I wish I had my laptop with me all the time, that I could just pullover and write what was in my head, and get it out so it's not torturing me anymore.

Sometimes I wish I was better at talking on the phone, so I could call someone, hear a voice other than my own, something rational, something that would calm down my crazy head.

I wish I had a specific example, I don't. By the time I get home, I usually have a million other things on my mind, and the ones that seemed so important about eighty miles out, have disappeared from my radar.

All I really remember, tonight, is that I was overwhelmed by all the thoughts in my head. If I can catch one again, I'll be sure to write it down.

Instead... another half-baked blog post, with vague frustrations and no real plan. I guess that's what I've started to get used to.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Captain America. I Have Thoughts.

It’s time for our semi-regular dose of nerdiness! Feel free to skip this one… I’m sure none of you are really here to listen to my rantings about superhero movies. Although, I’ve never really figured out why any of you ARE here, so who knows?

Warning: there might be some accidental spoilers if you’re not familiar with Captain America or this whole three-ring circus of pre-Avengers movies. There are actual spoilers too but I tried to save them for a specially well-marked area toward the end.

Here we are, almost at the end of our multi-year journey leading up to the Avengers movie. There’s a preview/pseudo-trailer for The Avengers at the very end after their arbitrary clip of Samuel L. Jackson being vague and ominous to the titular superhero that follows every single one of these movies. It’s going to be so bad-ass, guys. With all the build up, I expect this to be one damn good movie. Everyone does. Right now, I can’t see how it wouldn’t be. Joss Whedon is at the helm; it’s well-cast, from what I can tell. (Although, seriously? Just pick a Hulk already. I have no idea who SHOULD play the Hulk because so far no actor has done it more than once. They recast it with every movie. I like Mark Ruffalo for it, I guess. Granted I also like Eric Bana and Edward Norton, in general, so maybe they were good too? I don’t have an opinion right now. I don’t suppose I can really speak on it anyway because I have not seen any of the Hulk movies, for whatever reason, probably because that’s one character that just didn’t interest me. I suppose I should, before next summer, but I know the basic story of Bruce Banner so I’m not terribly concerned.). (That reminds me, I still need to see Thor.)

I’ve never done a midnight showing of a movie before (I KNOW – Maybe I should add it to my list?!), but I think I’ve decided that I really, really want to do it for the Avengers. I’m blocking it out on my schedule for next May. Who wants to come with me?

Anyway. My point is, we’ve been through so many other superhero movies to this point that I’ve almost lost count, but we’re at our last stop. We’ve finally been led up to this last installment, to the Captain America movie. 



I didn’t realize that the movie was coming out this weekend (I live under a rock, if you will recall), but since I was going to be up at my sister’s again, I asked if we could fit it into our weekend somewhere. Plus, I knew that even if she wasn’t keen on seeing it, my brother-in-law would be. Fortunately for me, they both wanted to see it, so, off we went! I swear, if it weren’t for those two, I would never see movies. It’s sad, really.

The only showtime that worked with our schedule happened to be a 3D showing. (I make us sound so busy and important, don’t I? WELL WE ARE.) Come on, Hollywood, are we about done with this yet? I’m kind of over it. Sometimes it’s fun. But sometimes it’s unnecessary. This movie in particular – 3D did nothing to enhance it. If anything, it was annoying and kind of distracted me. I would have been just fine seeing it in plain ol’ 2D and I would have liked it just the same. Maybe better. The other annoying thing about them forcing the 3D shows at you is that obviously THEY COST MORE. Aren’t movies expensive enough as it is? Sigh.

But that’s neither here nor there.

I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, so I decided to go into it without any expectations. Now, I’m about to pick this thing to pieces, so I want you to know: I really did enjoy this movie. A lot.

The BIGGEST thing that bothered me was the way that its tie to the Avengers movie affected this movie.

Within the first thirty seconds, I knew exactly how they were going to end the movie. If you’re a person that watches movies on a somewhat regular basis, I’m fairly confident that you’ll be able to figure it out too. Predictable is too much of an understatement, really. I just can’t think of a better word.

I guess, though, as a result of my post-movie Googling... the fact that it was so predictable isn't necessarily because they copped out with a cliched ending... it's because that's actually the way the comic book was written. I had to stop and rethink my whole rant because I could no longer target it at the screenwriters... I'd have to direct it at the original authors instead. Either way: it all felt like a very contrived ploy to fit Captain America into the Avengers.

Without saying much else, lest I spoil something before I intend to... I guess it was really the only way they could transition the story, in order to make an Avengers story/movie work. I understand the challenge of taking the character of Steve Rogers (aka Captain America), whose story is set in WWII, and bring him to modern day. Somehow they had to get him from then to now.

Somehow, though, they way they do it... still seems cheesy to me. Forced. Contrived. I understand also that that's how the original comic book did it, so I have no choice but to forgive it... but even though that's what the source material dictated, it almost felt to me like it cheapened the entire story. That this movie was set up solely to get us to the Avengers movie. It felt like the entire center of the movie – the Captain America backstory – merely served as a giant flashback so they could get to their endgame – hey, we have this BIG ASS MOVIE COMING OUT NEXT YEAR, HERE’S OUR OBLIGATORY INTRODUCTION TO ONE OF THE CHARACTERS. Even the title bothers me: Captain America: The First Avenger. It instantly turns this movie into nothing but a lead-in to The Avengers. Which, at this point, we all know what they are doing. I mean, at this point, we KNOW about the Avengers movie and we KNOW who Captain America is. We don't need to be told. Hell, Chris Evans could have just shown up in the Avengers movie and we’d be all, “Captain America? Check.”

I think what annoys me, really, was that I wanted a self-contained movie. This was just a vehicle, even though they're claiming that it's not. It didn’t get a chance to be a stand-alone movie because of the way it ended, because of the way they had to set it up for the big show next summer.

In that sense, I don’t feel like it was really fair to this movie. All the other characters got their own story, free of the tie-ins, with the exception of Iron Man II, where they referenced SHIELD and the Avenger Initiative throughout – but it was the sequel. The first Iron Man was brilliant and was a great story in its own right, with or without a sequel, with or without the Avengers. Captain America didn’t really get that chance. Right out of the gate, it was a puzzle piece that was done specifically to fit into the Avengers media ploy.

It was much more subtle in the other movies [that I've seen] – usually not until the very end, after all the credits had finished rolling. After their story had been told. Not before, not during. Those who were in the know would stay and wait and watch for that next nugget of information. But not here. It's not subtle in this movie. At all. It opens this movie and closes this movie and beats you over the head with the fact that this movie is part of something else.

Which strikes me as odd, because Captain America is such a major character, or at least I thought he was. His name is CAPTAIN FUCKING AMERICA, for Christ’s sake. My collection of random comic book trivia over the years always placed him as sort of the main hero. That’s why they saved him until last, right? The final piece. The big one. Why didn't he get to have his “own” movie like the others did?
I feel like the fact that the Avengers movie is looming over this storyline. We all know that's where we're headed, so we don't get to fully enjoy this one for what it is. Only for where it's taking us. I realize that somehow, the dots need to be connected. That all these characters are going to have to come together, but the rest of them got to have their own stories before they have their collective story.

(On that note – why didn’t the Black Widow get a movie? ScarJo had, like, one bad-ass scene in Iron Man II and yet she’s obviously one of the main Avengers because she’s on the fucking movie poster. What’s her backstory? Why is she called the Black Widow? How do we even know that that’s what she’s called other than the media hype and credits? They never actually call her that in the movie and I’d never heard of her character before, not like I had heard of the others, and yet I knew that’s who she was supposed to be. I call shenanigans. I guess she’s just there to be the token female superhero or something. I think she should have gotten some backstory, and I don’t think they’re going to give her any in the Avengers movie, so I guess we’ll just have to take it at face value that she’s there for some reason or another. Did she have her own comic, even? Who the hell is she? I guess this is something I need to Google.)

Anyway. I'm probably the only person that that bothered. Everybody else probably went to it knowing and expecting it to be smack-you-in-the-face setup for the Avengers. Great, super. I wanted it to be its own movie. Sue me.

The other thing that bothered me were the special effects done on Chris Evans to make him the skinny, scrawny pre-Captain America Steve Rogers. The first shot of him, I swear it looked like they photoshopped his face onto some other guy’s body. Though I guess they don’t use Photoshop in movies. CGI, then. They CGI’d his face. He looked so awkward and unnatural. It was kind of comical. Chris Evans is kind of a built dude. I mean, not, like, Ryan-Reynolds-built (though in this movie, he’d almost give Mr Reynolds a run for his money – he’d still lose, of course, because: RYAN REYNOLDS’S ABS), but he’s not a small dude. Skinny doesn’t suit him. Even his voice didn’t fit that scrawny version of his character – it was too deep, too something. It didn’t work right. He looked silly. If you’ve seen him in anything else, ever (which I know you have, because he seems to be everywhere), you will know EXACTLY what I mean, as soon as you see him in all of his special effects glory. Naturally, there is an obligatory gratuitous shirtless scene with glistening pectorals and glorious abs, once he is transformed to Captain America. Mmm.

Awkward effects aside, though… I do think Chris was a good choice for the role. I mean, he might not have been the best choice (I’m sure everyone has an opinion on this) but I’m not sure who else I would have cast instead. I know I mentioned my annoyance about when the same actor does multiple superheroes – especially within the same comic book universe (HI THERE HUMAN TORCH, NICE TO SEE YOU AGAIN)… but as it turned out, I think I am okay with it. Granted, I love Chris Evans. I’ll admit it. I somehow left him off my List the last time I posted it, which I will be sure to remedy the next time. I know a lot of people don’t like him, but whatever. I don’t think he’s necessarily all that great of an actor, per se, but he’s just so damn good-looking.

Let’s talk about the rest of the casting for a minute. I loved the casting.

Hugo Weaving is an excellent villain… he lends just the right amount of creepiness and intensity to whatever role he plays. He’s one of those actors I kind of forget about until he shows up somewhere. And he's always good.

Stanley Tucci! I love Stanley Tucci. (Except when he plays creepy pedophiles.) Stanley Tucci should be in everything.

The female protagonist/love-interest/sassy British military agent was played by Hayley Atwell, whom I have never seen in anything before, or even heard of, but I thought she was perfect in that role. She captured that 1940s tough-but-feminine look. As I tried to figure out who she was (and gave up), I decided that she reminded me of some combination of Neve Campbell and Kate Beckinsale. (Unless you look at other pictures of her online – in which she looks nothing like them at all. So weird.) Something about the way women looked in the 40’s (the curls, the red lipstick, the dresses – can we please dress like the 1940s again? – the whole bit), it just has this hint of glamour and beauty that you don’t really see modern-day anymore… she nailed it.Though there was at least one scene where was like, really? If I were going into combat, I think I probably would have pulled my hair up or something.

Tommy Lee Jones, also. Where the hell has he been?? The role of the snarky, weathered military commander was perfect for him. I need to find a word to use besides perfect. But TLJ does dry humor so well. I love him for it.

Who else… Dominic Cooper… it was nice to see him in something besides Mamma Mia… he was a great choice for Howard Stark (brilliant tie-in, by the way – I don’t know if the actual comics were woven together so well, but if not, it was a nice touch. Howard Stark being Tony Stark’s father, obvs. Tony Stark being Iron Man. If you’re just joining us.). The band of guys playing the only soldiers that probably had names in the credits were great too.

Despite my bitching about how much I felt like this movie was being used as a setup for the Avengers movie, the majority of the movie was the origin story of Captain America, and it was quite excellent. I mean, I can’t really say much to the effects, it seemed a little bit cheesy in 3D, so maybe it was “just right” in regular 2D, but I was sucked into it despite that. (Yes, I am a sucker for the WWII period anyway, throw in a superhero, I’m sold). 

For as much whining as I’ve done… I guess I could expand more on WHY it was good, but I’m not sure how, without giving too much away. I’m better about writing about the bad than the good, in general… but aren’t we all? Just like customers will be more likely to fill out a comment card when they’re pissed than when they have a good experience. People like to be vocal about things that irritate them.

So, I shall repeat: I liked this movie. A lot. So much I might go see it again, even. (Not in 3D though.) There was something about it that gave it a quality of being more than just a summer superhero movie. It did have that sort of dreamy, nostalgic quality of being set in a time that few of us have seen... practically another world. Where the lines of good and evil were clearly drawn in the sand. Where they had fairs and exhibitions of what they thought the future would hold. (Whereas we have semi-regular announcements from Steve Jobs about how they made the iPod smaller. Man, how our ambitions have shrunk.) Where things were bigger, the stakes were higher, where people still respected other people and weren't such raging assholes. I know I have this highly romanticized vision of the 1940s and the general World War II era, I've spent entirely too much time reading about it and forming my thoughts based on the images that still remain, but I don't care. It was a different time then, and while I don't know as though I'd want to live in it, it still fascinates me.

The movie does a great job of transporting us to that romanticized era, though, so I know I'm not the only one who sees it through that lens. The aesthetic quality of this movie is amazing; from the talky scenes to the blow-shit-up scenes, it was my ideal movie, visually.

The script was also good. For it being a comic book adaptation, it wasn't overly full of cliché platitudes and cheesy lines. It was also funny. Not to the point of it being a comedy, but it was laced with dry humor and one-liners and I found myself laughing quite a bit.

You can see why I loved it, right? 1940's + superheroes + Chris Evans + humor + shit being blown up = Kelly's idea of an awesome movie. Obviously there is more to it than that, but this post is already getting kind of long.

Lastly, and most importantly, one of the things I liked most about this story is that, as far as superhero movies go, this one was (relatively) pretty realistic and believable. Similar to Iron Man, the hero becomes a superhero through science and not some freak encounter with a radioactive spider or nuclear dust storm in outer space. It would have been easy to dismiss Steve Rogers as a too-good-to-be-true character – because he was too good, almost. Nobody’s moral compass is pointed that far north, right? And yet, he’s likeable, and believable. Wartime does tend to bring out extremes in people, and so maybe that’s why he was so focused on fighting the good fight. But Captain America is supposed to be the poster boy for heroes everywhere, so I guess I didn’t really expect him to be an exceptionally flawed character. But despite that, he was still human, and you could see that humanity in him. There’s generally not much room for character development in action movies, but this one was handled in just a way that you got enough sense of the characters to care about them accordingly.

Which brings me to the OTHER thing that bothered me.

(HERE COME THE BLATANT SPOILERS! STOP READING IF YOU DON’T WANT BLATANT SPOILERS!)

Again, I realize the problem of taking a 1940s superhero and bringing him into your club of modern-day superheroes… doesn’t really work, right? Not unless he doesn’t age or possesses some kind of immortality or something. Which, in theory, is possible. (Example: Wolverine.) (Also, Thor. Despite my having not seen this yet, I think it's safe to assume that Thor = god of thunder = gods are immortal. I'm curious as to what time period Thor's story takes place in. I think it's still at our cheap theater, I should make an attempt to go. Even if it's by myself. SCARY. I need to get over myself. Seriously.)

When they did their experiment on Steve Rogers and did whatever it was they did to him to make him this superhuman supersoldier, it’s very possible they could have altered his ability to age naturally. (There is a scene where he’s sitting in the ruins of a bar that was destroyed in the war, after the loss of an important character, and he sadly tells Peggy that because of the way his cells were manipulated to boost his ability to heal more rapidly, or something to that effect, he was unable to even get drunk.)

Instead, they had him crash-land into some snowy mountains where he was apparently frozen for seventy years.

I suppose everyone in Steve’s world wrote him off as dead and moved on with their lives. (How Nick Fury’s crew knew to look for him, though, is not explained… or maybe there just happened to be a crew that was doing something sciency in the area and recognized his iconic shield, I don’t know. I can’t tell if they were looking for him or just happened to find him. But they knew who to call, at any rate.)

He never got to be with his girl.

That’s the tragedy of this story, for me. Poor Steve Rogers didn’t get his happy ending that the other superheroes generally get to have. He wakes up in modern day New York City, and he just looks so sad when he’s told where (when) he is. Peggy, if she’s even still alive, would be old enough to be his grandmother. THIS GIVES ME ALL OF THE SAD FEELINGS IN THE WORLD, GUYS. 

Can you imagine waking up one day and it being seventy years in the future? You’d be so lost and disoriented, to start with, especially at the rate that technology is moving… but more than that, your whole life would be ripped away from you. All the people you knew, the friends or lovers you had – gone. Gone, or old. They all had to go on without you, and you’d be SO ALONE.

I guess that’s not really a flaw with the movie, per se, it’s just something that pulls at my personal heartstrings. THUS, IT BOTHERS ME.

I don't even know if I want to see this addressed in the Avengers movie. I suspect it will make me cry. And there's nothing lamer than crying at an action movie.

Except maybe being annoyed that it is such an obvious tie-in to said movie even though that's pretty much what should have been expected.

Ah, well. I think I've decided to quit apologizing for myself, because at this point, if you don't know how weird I am, then it's your own damn fault for not paying attention anyway.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pet Peeve #5431732

So you know what's really fun? When you're being all ambitious and shaving your legs, like proper hygiene and society like to recommend that you do, and you're all happily foamed up and making your right leg nice and smooth (because this is the leg we all start with, right?) and then you go to squirt more shave gel into your hand and OH HEY SUDDENLY IT'S GONE. You had just enough to shave one leg and POOF! No more shave gel. And it's not like you can really just stop after one leg, either, so then you're stuck using what little remnants of gel-foam you had left, crankily thinking to yourself that if only you had known you were almost out, you would have been less generous to start with and rationed properly, but the damn can has so much weight to it that it felt like you had plenty.

This has happened to me twice now. In a row. I suspect that this is how my next can of shave gel will end, too. In frustration and tears and unevenly moisturized legs.

The sad/ironic/funny part is, after I finished shaving my right leg, I actually THINK TO MYSELF, IN MY BRAIN, VERBATIM: wouldn't it suck if you ran out of shave gel again?

Yes, yes it would.

I'm probably psychic or something.

But you will be happy to know, I got both legs shaved. I suspect I can now perform some sort of scientific experiment to see how much using shave gel really benefits your skin post-shave... I guess my left leg does feel slighly more dried out. It doesn't really matter because I'm about five seconds away from slathering them both with free hotel lotion* and passing out.

The end. (Yes, you're SO GLAD I am back from Atlanta and posting again, AREN'T YOU??)


*For those following along on Twitter, I managed to bring 4 home with me.

Friday, July 22, 2011

That One Time Almost 2 Months Ago When My Friend Steph Got Married

I used to be really, really good at posting pictures in a timely manner. An event would occur, I'd paparazzi (that's a verb, right?) and usually by the next day I would have things up on facebook.

Nowadays, it takes me a month. Sometimes longer. (Ask my friend Trish - I STILL haven't gotten around to posting her wedding pictures to facebook and it's been A YEAR. Ugh. Friend fail.)

Adding to that pressure is now my need to blog about everything. Frequently it also means my blogger friends (*cough* Calee *cough*) are bugging me to get things posted so they can steal the pics to write their posts. So I'm not only holding myself up, but other people.

It's hard work being this awesome sometimes.

My POINT is: HERE ARE THE PICTURES FROM MY FRIEND STEPH'S WEDDING! YAY!

Here is Calee's post about the wedding. And here is Steph's. Just in case this one sucks. Which it might. But: pretty pictures!

Speaking of pretty pictures: check out the post on her photographer's blog - Amanda happens to be Steph's cousin (aww) and OH EM GEE she takes absolutely gorgeous photos. I'm in love with them all. I'm not sure how far she travels (she lists destination weddings as one of her services?) but if you are getting married and looking for a photographer, she does amazing work.

I'm out of links now, so... here's mine!

**

I was a little concerned when I woke up on the Saturday of the wedding and the sky was a humid, drizzly gray. They say rain on your wedding day is good luck... however, when you've planned for an outdoor wedding, that's NOT the kind of luck that you want.

I was cautiously optimistic when I left for Des Moines, catching streaks of blue here and there mixed in with the clouds. I was excited for the events of the day - I realized I wasn't really nervous, at all. By this point in my "career" I kind of knew what to expect and what to do. My stage fright from my first couple weddings was gone. Instead, I was eager to see all of Steph's hard work (okay, I'm sure Nathan helped a little too) unveiled and see all of the pieces come together.

Those who know me, know that I'm not particularly good at being on time, especially when mornings are involved. Or when I'm carpooling with Calee. Together, we are notoriously NONpunctual. However, the day before, we were not only early for the bridal tea, but we were the FIRST ONES THERE. It was an unusual situation, and it made us second-guess whether we were even in the right place.

We were.

The bridal tea was beautiful and elegant and the food was to die for. The best was the champagne sangria - so good! (Steph's sister-in-law found the recipe here - I have not tried to recreate it yet!).


 When you're early... take pictures in the car!

 The bridal party





Afterwards, we went to get our nails done. I was also able to cross this off of my list. Yes, I'm aware that it's odd that I made it to 26 without ever having a mani/pedi. The ladies at the salon thought so too.





Right, the wedding. So I get there precisely at the time I planned to (go me) and found Steph creating the single most awesome seating chart I've ever seen.



Both the ceremony and reception were held at an artesan studio in Des Moines - I never would have thought of it as a location, but it was absolutely perfect. It provided an artsy industrial feel which seemed to mesh perfectly with the soft, romantic decorations that Steph added. I absolutely love the way it all came together. Did I mention it was perfect? Because it was.




I finally pulled Steph away so that we wouldn't be running behind for her hair and makeup appointment. I'd had mine done earlier that morning by a friend/coworker, so it was kind of weird to just be able to sit and watch. I especially found the makeup artist to be interesting - there was a lot of layering and eye-painting going on... it made me wonder if I was doing something wrong because I never spend that much time doing mine. There's just so much I don't know.









At this point, I was starving, and I tried to force Steph to eat too, but she wouldn't. I even offered to buy her a sandwich, but she wasn't having any of it. I ended up relinquishing my banana, which she just kind of held onto for a while (she was so nervous - it was cute)... and then I tore off a part of my sub sandwich and made her eat it. Fainting brides = not a pretty sight.

Then there is that Moment where you get dressed and suddenly, it's showtime. I always put off putting on the dress (that was a weird sentence to write) for a while, even though all I really want to do is put the damn thing on and wear it around. I'm not quite sure why. Maybe it's because everything becomes official then. I can't explain it. Kind of like prom in high school... you get ready throughout the day and then it's time to put on the dress. And then I guess it's all kind of anticlimactic from there, because the night ends and you have to take it off and rarely will you get to wear it again. I can only imagine how much that feeling is going to be magnified when it's my turn to wear the white dress.








It had stopped raining entirely while we were at the salon, so the decision was made to have the ceremony outdoors as planned, underneath the giant tree. The ceremony was sweet and quick, and then the newlyweds whisked away to have their pictures taken and we were left to mill about. I'd been charged by the bride to take pictures of the reception guests, so I wandered around commanding people I didn't know to smile for me. They probably thought I was weird. They wouldn't be wrong.

The food was good, the cake was good (Calee and I snuck ourselves a second piece), the music was good, the dancing was fun. As far as weddings go, I give it an A+. I'm going to let the pictures speak for themselves, what with them each being approximately worth a thousand words, and all that.






















Also, in continuing with my long-running streak, I did NOT catch the bouquet. I did, however, manage to get a hand on it and came away with a fistfull of rose. So.... I don't think that is symbolic of anything but I felt mildly victorious anyway.



Though the highlight was probably when someone brought out the oddly-wrapped gift from my friend Candace and her husband.



Inside was a hoe and some garden tools. I made Steph and Nathan pose because I HAD A VISION...




And that, my friends, is what we call an awesome wedding.